- Prof Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice president has said that diesel produces more energy than the energy grid of 17 countries in the sub—Saharan African region.
- The SSA region still needs to further develop its renewable energy capacity, especially hydropower because of its affordability and ability to eradicate energy poverty
- Nigeria and South Sudan are used as real case scenarios on diesel use in the SSA region.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has said that diesel fuel generators produce more energy than the power grid of 17 countries in the sub-Saharan African region. He made this statement during the March 24 foundation laying ceremony of the solar cell production factory to be developed in Gora, Nasarawa state by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).
According to Prof. Osinbajo, $50 billion worth of diesel fuel is used every year with diesel generators, which produce more energy than the entire energy grid in 17 countries in the sub-Saharan region. He said:
“In Sub-Saharan Africa, $50 billion worth of diesel fuel is used each year with diesel generators producing more energy than the entire energy grid in 17 countries in the region
“In Nigeria, for example, generator emissions are equivalent to emissions from all the country’s 11 million cars put together. This is clearly unsustainable and calls for a significant shift.”
Sub-Saharan Africa still needs more renewable energy
Although it is not clear where Prof Osinbajo got the data earlier presented, however, if diesel-powered energy is higher than the entire energy grid in 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, it means that renewable energy growth in sub-Saharan Africa still needs a lot of growth. Renewable energy in this case references solar, hydropower, and wind power.
However, hydropower is preferred because Africa has one of the largest untapped potentials for hydropower development in the world. This is because hydropower can provide cheap and continuous access to power supply, which helps to alleviate energy poverty.
Diesel-fueled energy could be higher than hydropower energy in SSA
Only 15 countries across SSA account for more than 90% of the installed hydropower capacity and generation. This is according to the recently released Energy and Utilities 2023 Africa Outlook Report by Informa Markets.
The report states that the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that hydropower provided 16% of Africa’s electricity output in 2020, with 90% of the generation capacity located in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
It also notes that within the SSA region, the industry is concentrated in a relatively small number of countries. According to the International Hydropower Association (IHA), there were 33.4 gigawatts (GW) of installed hydroelectric power capacity across sub-Saharan Africa as of 2021.
South Sudan healthcare as a real case scenario on diesel use in SSA
A 2022 report by international non-profit, Crown Agents revealed that primary healthcare facilities in South Sudan, which is a sub-Saharan African country, use 2,200 liters of diesel every year to power their facilities, amounting to 5.7 tons of CO2 per annum. Also, hospitals in the country consume 16,000 liters of diesel per year, amounting to 42 tons of CO2 per annum.
The Nigerian context
In 2022, Nairametrics carried out a survey that revealed the industries and sectors that rely heavily on diesel. These sectors include;
- Hotels and hospitality
- Ground, sea, and air transportation
- Agricultural commodities and restaurants
- Professional services like financial service institutions.
Although hydropower still needs further development, Nigeria is one of the countries where large hydropower projects are expected in 2023 and the coming years. Nairametrics had earlier reported that the $1.3 billion Zungeru hydroelectric power project located in Niger state, will be completed in the first quarter of 2023.
What you should know: According to the outlook report, the most important country when it comes to hydropower in the region, is Ethiopia, which has an installed capacity of just over 4 GW, closely followed by Angola at 3.8 GW, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo at 2.8 GW.
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